A Good Wednesday

It’s been a long time since I’ve been psyched for a Wednesday. But today I am psyched. First off, I’m heading to Midtown Comics which I haven’t been to in several weeks. Now that may not seem strange at first glance, but I’m a guy who has been a regular at Midtown since it opened, and a regular Wednesday comic book buyer since about twelve-years-old. Now sure, there were some lapses and breaks over the years. But no flat-out hiatuses, I’ve always been a comic book reader. This week I’m excited to get back to the shop and meet my good buddy for lunch afterward. Comics and lunch, it doesn’t get any better.

The one highlight of the week [which I sadly can't afford at this moment] is the ABSOLUTE RONIN Hardcover by Frank Miller (DC Comics)

[Above is original trade paperback cover art - by Miller]

I loved this book when it first came out, mixing samurai legend and a science fiction-like jump to a future time; it's a tale about second chances and vengeance. Written and drawn by Frank Miller - coming into his own, stylistically – it is an essential part of any comics collection!
It also looks to be another book that I lost after years of loaning out or giving away copies of my trades. I scanned my shelves – it is nowhere to be found. I can’t complain really, as a former graphic novel buyer for the SFBC, I used to get loads of samples, and I reveled in it. I also used to try to give away books to spread the good word of comics when I could. Alas, it'll have to be something saved up for because the sweet thing is the “Absolute” treatment of a Miller classic like Ronin. The oversized, massive hardcover will come with rarely seen promotional art, slick fold-out pages and even more special features.

So don't forget to hit your local comic shop, for special books like this or other great books. I have to get back to my Wednesday list. Joy.


Kim Deitch: a retrospective Opening Reception at MoCCA

I volunteered last Friday night at MoCCA (that's the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) at the opening reception for a new exhibit focusing on legendary independent artist (and all around nice guy) Kim Deitch. MoCCA had recently renovated their museum space, and the studio looked incredible. Somehow, I was unable to snap a picture of the esteemed artist with my sad little cell phone camera [this photo of the artist was found via a google search] but I did capture some of the ambiance of the event when able as you'll see below.

Deitch was born into an animation family, the son of animator Gene Deitch. His early work in the underground comix movement of the 1960s solidified his place among the indy comics elite and he has worked non-stop ever since. The MoCCA exhibit, a Kim Deitch retrospective, features samples his art from over the years and it is an excellent collection of his work.

At first some friends, fans and other curious folk appeared and took in the original art, sketches and even a looping video of Deitch's work, enjoying their time wandering the floor. The below photo is my view from behind the counter as I greeted folks as they arrived. The museum also had a few of Deitch's books for sale, all proceeds going to the museum of course].

Above photo of the cover and pages of Deitch's Alias the Cat graphic novel from the good folks at Pantheon. I had carried along with me an early review copy I had rec'd as a book club editor in the hopes to get a signature. Alas, I didn't want to bother Mr Deitch as he generously signed copies of his books for sale for the museum beforehand, or as he videotaped an interview for a comics media organization which walked the viewer through his pieces in the collection as he explained the process.

[Editorial note: If anyone knows the link to the video, or what site posts it, please send it along to me, I'd love to see it - and I'll post link here of course, thanks!]

Update, 9.16.08: The people who were filming at the event were comicology.tv, and here is a link to their Sept. museum round-up piece: http://www.youtube.com/user/comicologytv

As the evening progressed, the opening reception continued to be a big hit, and I was on dual duty as greeter [with my trusty sidekick Will] as well as bartender, doing my best to keep the complimentary wine a-flowin'. As you can see from this shot, the rainy Friday evening couldn't stop cool kats from coming down to check out the exibit on it's opening night.

Sadly, Peter Parker I am not. I was unable to get a photo of Mr. Deitch before I had to run to another engagement. Nor was I able to snap shots of notable Deitch supporters who arrived like: comics legend Gary Panter (who was just the nicest guy when we chatted for a sec), the emminent comics blogger for Publishers Weekly, Heidi McDonald, the ever witty comics culture reporter, Laura Hudson, and of course, MoCCA volunteer coordinator, and Associate Editor at Tor, Liz Gorinsky. I know there are others I'm forgetting, chalk it off to actually volunteering without note-taking afterwards. Either way it was a really well-run event and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening.

Aparently all I can really handle is turning the camera around and taking awkward self-photos like this one in front of some of Deitch's masterful work.

The retrospective exhibit runs through Dec. 5th and is a real treat for any fan of comics art, NY culture or simply art in general. And the museum is neatly located on Broadway just below Houston street. Good times.


a day to remember

I drove to Astoria Park today, walked around for a bit, then sat under a shady tree to read and write a little. It was a beautiful afternoon, and I listened to the sounds of the city off in the distance as I read some of The Road, and did some research for a new book I'll be editing. An occasional jogger went by, as did the occasional motorcycle or truck in the distance, and even a boat or two passing beneath the Hell Gate Bridge.

I found the perfect shady spot, not far from where I propsed to my wife, nearly two years ago. I sat in the shade of a tree that had roots which made a natural seat on the ground. It was nice to have a peaceful afternoon, at a special locale, on an important day that generally makes me very sad. I think I just found my new favorite spot for the Fall.


It’s Hard to Watch

It is painful to watch my team loose like this. Yes, my team. I’ve been watching the Raiders, especially on Monday Night Football, for as far as I can remember. Late nights in high school, where my dad would let me stay up late to see if the Raiders could pull off a comeback, like they did back then against Denver when down 24 – 0. It feels like I’m in high school once again. Too many young players and lots of mistakes being made.

Even worse, it’s tough to listen to it all. Once the announcers get on one side of the game it’s just bla, bla, bla. Eddie Royal, a rookie from West Virginia is having the game of his life and listening to the announcers talk about him like he’s god’s gift…brings be back – yet again – to how the announcers used to talk about John Elway. If I had a nickel…

And I like the Mike & Mike guys, especially with Coach Ditka as the 3rd Mike in the booth. But didn’t anyone brief them that you don’t TALK OVER the officials when they’re calling a penalty. It’s like they never watched a pro game before, they talk right over the flag calls. It’s really annoying, especially when all the over-talkers from Madden to Dierdorf know to stop when an official is announcing what’s the penalty.

The Raiders score a touchdown, at the very least, eliminate the chance of a shut-out. But McFadden, the 4th round draft pick, walks himself to the locker room and they’re checking him for a shoulder injury. A 3rd personal foul was just called. They’re falling apart at the seams. They need to hold it together, as I try to hold it together watching. Now a 4th personal foul. I'm so tired, but can't abandon hope.

I didn’t plan to write about sports much here. But these are my boys and it’s very late, and I need to get it out. I I am a weird mix of jock and nerd. I played football in high school and in the parks on Staten Island with friends in full equipment, playing teams from other neighborhoods with names like The New Springville Boys and my personal favorite The Wanderers. I even played a year in college for a Staten Island traveling team, The Warriors.
I digress.

Normally I’m not a much of a rant guy, but tonight I’m feeling it. I realize there are no books mentioned anywhere in this post. Sometimes this will be the case. But I am currently reading a book about sports as I watch the game, so that kind of counts. It's manuscript about baseball, which seems like a much better thing to focus on right about now.

And the final is 41 – 14, ouch.

I wonder if I’ll dream in Silver and Black tonight…


As I continue with my networking assault...

I make lots of lists. Lists of people to contact, people to check in with, and odd contacts not heard from in a while. I'm all about lists. So as September has arrived and I look ahead this Fall, I am doing my best as a humble freelancer, to stay in touch with the many publishing contacts I've made over the years.

At the same time a good friend of mine, and hot new author, Peter Brett is in the UK for the launch of his new fantasy novel, The Painted Man. Check out his blog for details about his the visit to the HarperCollins UK office, his book store signing, and all that. I wish I was there with him, as it is all very exciting to experience this with him as a friend and publishing professional. I'm very proud.

"Damn, it's a very exciting time."

DEAR CYBORGS by Eugene Lim, a little review

I had read a great little article on LitHub.com about this new novel from Eugene Lim and went to seek it out. Soon after I had acquired...